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Homelessness

Chart showing the increase in homelessness caused by the affordable housing shortage.
Miami For All, Inc. & Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, University of Florida

Student homelessness in Florida has almost tripled in the last decade to about 96,000 in the 2017-18 school year.

Those experiencing homelessness score lower on statewide assessments and have a lower high school graduation rate compared to students who are economically disadvantaged but have a place to live.

Six advocates, from the executive director of the state's veterans agency to a formerly homeless veteran, met with two lawmakers in New Port Richey this week
YouTube

Lawmakers and advocates for more than a decade have done battle with the homeless crisis among military veterans.

Their number in the Tampa Bay region has been cut by 72 percent and in half statewide, but a U.S. House subcommittee meeting in New Port Richey Monday heard that more work needs to be done.

Two members of Homeless Response Team in Sarasota
City of Sarasota

Helping homeless people get back on their feet is the goal of a new specialized court in Sarasota.

Known as ‘Community Care Court,’ the cases are limited to homeless people charged with non-violent misdemeanors, such as trespassing or possessing an open container of alcohol.

The court does not sentence the defendants, but instead recommends resources for rehabilitation and sometimes requires them to check back in on their progress over the course of several hearings.

Mr. Bubblez Showers
WUSF/Bradley George

By Bradley George  

Marcia Hall has worked with homeless people in Hillsborough County for over a decade. As a receptionist at Metropolitan Ministries, she’s often the first point of contact for someone looking for help.  

Steve Newborn/WUSF

Nearly 500 volunteers fanned out across Hillsborough County Thursday to tally the county’s homeless population.

City Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that serves the homeless and addicted in Jacksonville, is now selling chocolate to help offset the costs of its free programs thanks to a generous donation.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Advocates in over 400 communities around the country are taking to the streets over the next few weeks to find and tally America’s homeless.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

The Pasco County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to move forward with a plan to create a navigation center for the homeless.

But the location of the resource center, which helps homeless people find jobs, housing and other necessities, has been contentious in the community. Critics of the plan say the proposed location at the old Boys & Girls Club building on Little Road and Youth Lane in New Port Richey is too close to their homes and businesses.

Law enforcement has been cracking down on corruption in South Florida’s drug treatment industry. State and federal officials have arrested more than 30 people for running scams in rehab centers or sober homes in the past year.

But the facilities are often filled with recovering drug users from out-of-state. And when the homes shut down, the residents frequently wind up on the street.

A homeless charity that filed a federal lawsuit resulting in the partial overturning of Tampa's panhandling ban will be shut down.

Officials for the city and the charity say Homeless Helping Homeless will shut down today.

M.S Butler

Florida's Department of Children and Families said in 2014  there were at least 5,700 homeless people under the age of 18 in our state. Some of them teenagers living on their own. But there's one group that makes up a disproportionate amount of homeless teens in Florida and throughout the nation.

They've been called street kids, couch surfers or as St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said back in March: “There is a federal bureaucratic term for the young people who will be served here—unaccompanied youth. But they are in reality homeless.”

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

On Thursday, Hillsborough County conducted its annual homeless count. Volunteers canvassed neighborhoods in an effort to get a better picture of the homeless population.

The Ybor Youth Clinic focused on an often unnoticed demographic: homeless youth. 

At 8 p.m., in a room of the YMCA on East Palm Avenue in Tampa, the Clinic's volunteers were on phones, looking for anyone under 25 without a home. 

Quincy Walters

The Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative held the grand opening for the Community Housing Solutions Center on Thursday. What makes this different from other homeless shelters is it gives both single men and women housing for four months - with the belief that a stable place to live is the first step to getting them off the streets. 

A record number of homeless students are attending Florida schools according to new numbers released by the U.S. Department of Education. Almost 70,000 kids in the state were homeless during the 2012-2013 school year, a 10 percent increase compared to the national average of 8 percent.

However, most of those kids are not recognized as homeless by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which acts as a clearinghouse for many social services available to the homeless.

Homelessness in Manatee and Sarasota counties jumped up nearly 9 percent from a similar count done two years ago.

John Raoux / AP Photo

When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192.

Pair Of Florida Republicans File Bill To Help Homeless

Feb 20, 2014
Blaise Gainey / WFSU

Homelessness eradication efforts would get more money under terms of a bill spearheaded by a pair of legislative Republicans.

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) and Rep. Kathleen Peters’ (R-South Pasadena) bills would offer annual challenge grants to agencies.

Latvala says the measure reestablishes funding the agencies once had access to.

Kathleen Peters Facebook Page

A "Homeless Social Marketing" campaign was unveiled at the Art Institute of Tampa today

The campaign was spearheaded by state Rep. Kathleen Peters of St. Petersburg and "True Face," a student design group at the Art Institute of Tampa. It's goal is to show the true face of homelessness today.

Rep. Peters says homelessness is an issue throughout the state.

MiraclePlace Gives Hope to Homeless

Jul 31, 2013
Yoselis Ramos

Metropolitan Ministries is renovating and expanding its MiraclePlace campus just north of downtown Tampa. It's home to homeless children and families until they can get back on their feet.

Families previously stayed in a 200-square-foot room with a couple of bunk beds against the walls and a small bathroom to the side. Mandy Cloninger of Metropolitan Ministries said the single light overhead was an example of how this small room wasn't enough.

This week, hundreds of volunteers hit the streets of Hillsborough County to count the number of homeless residents, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Under federal law, counties must report the number of homeless every other year. At last check, 17,775 homeless people lived in Hillsborough County, contributing to the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area's distinction as the having the highest homelessness rate in the country, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This year's data, due out in March, will be used to apply for funding and expand services that help the homeless.

Clermont Struggles With Homeless Students

Feb 29, 2012
60 Minutes

The Associated Press has a terrific profile out on a homeless student in Lake County, the latest in a series of stories using Florida as the face of the Great Recession.